The NBA announced on Sunday that Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has been fined $35,000 and the organization itself has been fined $25,000 for saying, "We don't give a shit about 'it!'" before his team opened the playoffs on Saturday.
The punishment was "for using obscene language in a public setting," according to the league. It is likely harsher than it would be otherwise because, in the exact same scenario last year, he used "F--- Brooklyn!" as a rally cry outside of the Air Canada Centre. He was fined $25,000 for that.
"I have the deepest respect for Commissioner Silver and the NBA, and while showing passion for our team and fans I will choose my words more carefully in the future so as not to indicate otherwise," Ujiri said in a statement. "I apologize and have acknowledged the fine with the Commissioner. I consider the matter closed and our sole focus is on the playoffs."
The severity of the fine is a little surprisin, given that this time Ujiri didn't specifically denigrate a team or a player. He was responding to comments from Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce -- ironically, Ujiri initially said he didn't have enough money to fire back at Pierce -- but didn't actually say anything about Pierce himself. It seems odd to fine a guy for attacking the concept of an "it" factor, even if he used profane language.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a halftime interview on TSN that what Ujiri said was not appropriate:
It all seemed like harmless fun to me, but maybe that's why I'm not in charge of a professional sports league. Ujiri will probably watch his language when speaking publicly for the next little while.